Politico's Catanese Tries to Legitimize “Legitimate Rape” Comment

Politico reporter David Catanese dismissed the growing outrage over comments made by Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), who has come under fire for saying that it's “really rare” for women subjected to “legitimate rape” to become pregnant. This puts Catanese in agreement with CNN contributors Erick Erickson and Dana Loesch, who have rushed to Akin's defense since his comments were first reported. 

In a post to his Twitter account Sunday night, Catanese said: “Ok, I'm gonna (ask for it) & defend @ToddAkin for argument's sake. We all know what he was trying to say.”

He then tweeted: “Poor phrasing, but if you watch the [interview, Akin] meant to convey there's less chance of getting pregnant if raped.”

As Talking Points Memo reported, during an interview with a local Missouri TV station, Akin responded to a question about whether he thought abortion should be legal in cases of rape by saying

AKIN: First of all, from what I understand from doctors that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work, or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child. 

Akin has subsequently said: “In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it's clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year.”

Responding to the ensuing controversy, Catanese, who penned an article for Politico calling Akin's comments “damning,” posted the following to his Twitter account:

Catanese Tweet

Catanese followed up four minutes later, writing: “Poor phrasing, but if you watch the intv @ToddAkin meant to convey that there's less chance of getting pregnant if raped.”

Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple wrote that Catanese's defense of Akin “appears to stem from a sense that everything in the political realm welcomes a point-counterpoint exchange. That perhaps some more expertly chosen words would resolve this mess.” Wemple then quoted from a study cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that shows 5 percent of rapes result in pregnancies.

 Here are some of Catanese's other tweets on the subject:

Catanese Tweets1

Catanese tweets2

UPDATE: After this item was posted, Catanese tweeted: “Re last night: Bad idea trying to have nuanced conversation on highly charged issue on here. Did not intend to take a side. Lesson learned.”

Catanese tweet